Candles glow bright in memory of George Aldrich
His father George Sr. and brother Sean were on hand for a candlelight vigil in Aspen. They flew back here after Aldrich's body turned up under the bridge following an extensive two-week search for the 28-year-old.
Candles were also lit in Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Texas, North Carolina, California, New York, Ohio, Georgia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and other locales where the story of the missing man had captured hearts and weighed heavily on minds.
“My friends and I lit candles in Antibes, France, last night for George and his family,” Avalon Vorisek wrote on a Facebook page dedicated to the search and now memory of Aldrich. “I have a friend here who knew George and said he was a great friend with an incredible personality. We wish you all the best and hope he sees how many candles are burning for him all around the world.”
Aldrich disappeared the night of Nov. 27 after getting off at the wrong bus stop. He lived in an employee housing unit in Snowmass Village but mistakenly exited at Truscott just before 10:30 p.m.
A trio of Mountain Rescue Aspen searchers finally located Aldrich's body on Tuesday, not far from where he was last seen. He was found partially covered in snow beneath the bridge. Search and rescue crews said the rough terrain and man's clothing camouflaged him from their view. It was hard to see him from even six feet away, they said.
In a statement, Pitkin County Deputy Coroner Audra Keith said her office determined that Aldrich accidentally fell to his death, possibly through a small gap between the old Maroon Creek Bridge and the new one, which are side by side near the entrance to Aspen and a short walk from Truscott. Officials are reevaluating the safety of the bridges.
Authorities believe Aldrich fell a distance of about 100 feet.
“The injuries sustained indicate he died instantly on impact. A fall from this height is universally non-survivable,” the coroner's statement read.
Toxicology results also showed that Aldrich's blood alcohol level was .294 — which is more than three and a half times Colorado's threshold for being under the influence (.08) and almost six times that of impairment (.05).
“This information will be listed as a contributing factor to the death of Mr. Aldrich,” Keith wrote.
Aldrich worked as an operator at the Village Express chairlift in Snowmass. He moved to the Aspen area to snowboard after developing an affinity for Colorado while attending Johnson & Wales in Denver.
He additionally attended LaSalle Academy, a Catholic prep school in Rhode Island where his father is the dean of admissions. Aldrich also did quite a bit of acting. He worked as a news anchor for a TV show called “Kidswatch” at the age of 12 and went on to work in a handful of independent films, according to his family members.
A wake and mass for Aldrich is scheduled in Rhode Island in the coming days.
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